Open-source vendor SugarCRM has unveiled a new technical-collaboration partnership with Microsoft that will boost interoperability between SugarCRM products and Windows Server.
Announced at the Open Source Business Conference, the collaboration project is designed to help customers of both vendors take advantage of Windows administration for running SugarCRM.
SugarCRM also announced that it will be releasing a new distribution under the Microsoft Community License when it ships version 4.5 of Sugar Suite. The license is part of a Microsoft initiative that provides source code to customers, partners, and governments.
Key areas for initial technical collaboration are expected to be support for Microsoft's Internet Information Services and optimization for Active Directory and SQL Server.
Meeting a Need
The decision to collaborate with Microsoft was undertaken because nearly 35 percent of SugarCRM's customer base uses Windows Server, according to Bill Hilf, director of Technical Platform Strategy at Microsoft.
"SugarCRM is a leading commercial open-source vendor," Hilf said in a statement. "We are pleased to be working with it on this joint collaboration effort designed to provide customers using SugarCRM on Microsoft Windows Server with the best possible experience within their environment."
Because Microsoft is putting a great deal of effort behind its own customer-relationship management (CRM) products and services, the two companies did admit that the partnership was not absolute, and that they still would be competing in certain areas.
However, the two vendors intend to work together, regardless of the rivalry, to improve interoperability for their customers.
SugarCRM claims the collaboration will allow its customers to capitalize on their existing Windows infrastructure by helping to speed deployment and lower overall costs.
The interoperability agreement with Microsoft will give SugarCRM customers more flexibility and allow the company to offer better out-of-the-box integration for existing systems, noted Yankee Group analyst Sheryl Kingstone.
"This is a technology-support play for SugarCRM," she said. "It's less about Microsoft and its CRM efforts, and more about what will be provided for SugarCRM customers."
To be successful in the CRM arena, a vendor must be able to support a wide variety of databases, she added.
With CRM packages, value comes from having more sophisticated code and easier integration, she explained, noting that, with the Microsoft deal, SugarCRM now can offer both to its users.
"The easier they can make their code, the more value that code has," said Kingstone.